I watched the video that Jan had sent me about Linda J Mendelson, an artist who has been making wearable art since the 1970s. At the end of the video, Mendelson is working on a new piece using a free-motion sewing machine.
“I learned this on YouTube” she said. I loved her openness and willingness to learn something new.
When I saw her sewing machine and how sturdy it and the platform she was working on were, I thought that I should have sometime similar.
This was unusual thinking for me and I noticed it right away. I was equating myself to this successful artist. In the past, I wouldn’t have done this. In the past, I would not have thought myself worthy of having what Linda Mendleson had.
I got my Brother sewing machine in 2010, two years after I started my blog and business. I don’t remember how much it cost.
At the time it was a remarkable upgrade from the 20-year-old Singer that I had been using. It was the first time I heard about free-motion sewing. When I realized that I could draw with the sewing machine, I knew my sewing life was about to change for the better.
Four years later, I launched a Kickstarter to raise money to buy another sewing machine. This time a Viking. It cost around $2000. I loved sewing free motion on my Brother, but it wasn’t as good for straight sewing.
The Viking had some really nice features, like the automatic tension control, auto threader, cutter and bobbin feed. It also had a lot of features, like hundreds of stitches, that I’d never use.
Lately, my Viking has had its problems.
The self-threader no longer works I’ve stopped using the automatic cutter because when I do the mechanism often randomly engages, and will cut the thread when I’m still sewing.
And there are some things I never liked about the machine, including that it stops sewing when the bobbin thread gets low leaving a bunch of tread on the bobbin that can’t be used without a lot of trouble.
And when I saw the setup that Mendelson has, I realized how rickety my Brother sewing machine had become over the years.
The extension is so wobbly it no longer fits correctly onto the machine. The switch to allow it t be used for straight sewing broke long ago. And other parts of the machine are loose and ill-fitting.
I can still use both sewing machines. It’s not as if they no longer work. They just don’t work as well as they used to.
And honestly, since I went to Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and saw the sewing machine that Mary Ann Pettway had, (if I remember correctly it was a mechanical Juki) I’ve wanted something similar.
So a month ago I ordered an extension for my Viking Sewing machine so I could use it for free-motion sewing. The extensions are custom-made. They’re big and sturdy. Mine cost $125. At the same time, I started thinking about getting a mechanical sewing machine as opposed to a computerized one for straight sewing.
I wanted something simple and straightforward. I knew I’d miss the automatic tension,I’ve never been good at adjusting the tension when sewing and often work with different types of fabric at one time, but I was willing to give it up.
I feel like after years of sewing, I’ll be able to figure it out. It’s actually not that complicated.
It took a month for the extension for my Viking to be made, and I got a call this week that it was in. So on Saturday, Jon and I took a drive to Glens Falls to pick it up.
On the way, we stopped at Patti’s Sewing Machines and More.
Over a year ago I went into the shop to buy some needles and the husband and wife who own the shop were very helpful. Our conversation about needles led to sewing machines and when I began thinking about getting a new machine they came to mind.
I remembered that Patti and her husband sold Janome machines so I did some research online.
But I didn’t want to buy a sewing machine online. I wanted to see, touch, and sew on it before buying it. And I wanted to talk to someone who I trusted to make sure I was getting the right machine.
When I bought both my Brother and Viking sewing machines, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t know what I needed and didn’t need in a machine.
This time I knew exactly what I wanted.
Once again Patti and her husband were extremely helpful. Jon sat patiently and quietly as we talked machines. He only spoke up when he saw that I was interested in the Janome and offered to buy it for me.
I decided on the Janome Sewist 725S. It was $400 and they had one in stock.
The shop where I ordered the extension for my Viking was closed for the Easter Holiday, so I didn’t get to pick that up. I’ll get it next week and am eager to try out free-motion sewing on my Viking. I have a really good feeling about it.
I can do free-motion sewing on my new Janome, but I’d have to buy an extension. And I like having two separate machines for the two types of sewing. I sew so much it will cut down on the wear and tear on my machines.
Usually, when I get something new, like a sewing machine I’m nervous about opening it up and using it.
Right now, my Janome Sewist is in my studio, still in its box. But not because I’m nervous about it. I was busy this weekend and I don’t want to rush it. I want to savor opening it up and getting to know it.
Getting this sewing machine is different for me. It’s not that I need it because my sewing machine doesn’t work anymore. Or because I feel like I’ve worked hard and deserve it.
I got it because I wanted it. Because I believe it will help me do my work better. And because I could.